The season is over. Only it isn’t. Liverpool managed to earn 97 points and still not break their league title drought, and yet nobody seems massively upset about it. Some of that is the belief in this group, this team, and this manager.
They will be back. They will go again. A little better, a little stronger, with more belief even than they entered the 2018-19 season perhaps. And then, of course, the season isn’t over. Not just yet. There’s still the small matter of Madrid.
“It feels bittersweet now but the season isn’t over,” was star Mohamed Salah’s message following the final league game. “I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, and to the fans. And fans, please bring Anfield to Madrid.”
If history is anything to go by, they will, doing what they can to help to push Liverpool to their sixth European cup, a trophy that would mark a proper and fitting end to the season for this team, this manager, and this group of players.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, meanwhile, admitted it was “Tough to take” missing on the league but, similar to Salah, ended with an “Onwards to Madrid!” rallying cry. And James Milner kept it short and sweet: “We go again in three weeks.”
Ninety-seven points would have won Liverpool the league every other season bar one—and, of course, bar this one—but this isn’t the end of it all, not for this season with Madrid still to come and not for this group of players, either.
There’s one more game to play, the promise of silverware and an outcome that is within Liverpool’s control—unlike the league where they spent the past few months knowing they needed others to take points off of Manchester City.
Then the summer and another season. This won’t be the end of it for this group. Unlike in past title challenges where Liverpool felt, perhaps, a little fortunate just to be there, they fully deserve to be counted as favourites now.
They’re back amongst the elite, even if they don’t have the trophy to prove it—yet. Which means that rather than having their best poached after a season of overachievement, this summer the club will expect to get even better.
This isn’t the end of it. Not this time. It’s the beginning. But first, Madrid.